LeBron James equaled a playoff career high with 49 points, Chris Bosh hit a tiebreaking three-pointer with 57 seconds to go and the Miami Heat outlasted the Brooklyn Nets, 102-96, at the Barclays Center Monday night, taking a commanding 3-1 lead in their second-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
James was simply spectacular in this one, accounting for 19 of the Heat's 27 free-throw attempts.
Kidd on LeBron: "Tonight, he didn't settle."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) May 13, 2014
Blatche says the #Nets defensively didn't communicate— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) May 13, 2014
Miami shot 52.9 percent as a team and took excellent care of the basketball, recording only eight turnovers in a back-and-forth affair.
Down 56-49 at the half, the Nets rallied in the third quarter, trimming the deficit to one numerous times but being unable to gain the lead.
They finally did in the fourth quarter, going up by as much as three, but the Heat stayed the course and Bosh delivered his triple with just under a minute remaining, putting Miami up for good.
Spoelstra on LeBron passing rather than shooting before Bosh 3: “He just showed great poise and trust to make the right basketball play."— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) May 13, 2014
Brooklyn, after shooting 15-of-25 from three-point range in its Game 3 win, shot only 5-of-22 from beyond the arc in the loss. It shot 43.6 percent from the floor overall.
Game 5 is Wednesday night at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Key Player Grades: Miami Heat
LeBron James, Small Forward
James was in attack mode from the get-go.
After scoring 12 points in the first quarter, James poured in another 13 in the second, scoring in a variety of ways.
He didn't stop in the second half, either, adding 15 more in the third period and finishing with 49 for the game.
James drove to the basket, scored in transition, hit mid-range jumpers and got to the free-throw line with impunity, going 14-of-19 from the stripe. He also shot the ball well from three, going 3-of-6 from downtown.
This was rather reminiscent of James' Game 6 performance against the Boston Celtics back in 2012.
Erik Spoelstra on LeBron: "He was simply indefatigable." #indefatigable— Tom Lorenzo (@TomLorenzo) May 13, 2014
LeBron went 16-of-24 from the floor overall.
He added six rebounds.
Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard
Dwyane Wade may not have the same explosiveness he once did, but that doesn't mean he still can't shoot the ball efficiently.
Wade went 7-of-13 from the floor, scoring 15 points.
However, Wade made a couple of crucial, uncharacteristic turnovers in the fourth quarter, making some sloppy passes that easily got picked off.
It also would have been nice to see Wade get to the free-throw line, as he only took two foul shots, making one.
We definitely have to temper our expectations with D-Wade, but he is certainly capable of a bit more than this.
Chris Bosh, Center
Bosh seemed content to fire up three-pointers all night, and while it didn't seem to be working for a while, he hit a huge one with just under a minute to go to put the Heat up by three.
Bosh only went 2-of-6 from long range and took a couple of unnecessary ones in the fourth that LeBron was not too happy with, but he ended up hitting perhaps the biggest shot of the series late.
Bosh ended up going 5-of-9 from the floor overall, scoring 12 points. He added five rebounds and three blocks in 36 minutes
Mario Chalmers, Point Guard
Mario Chalmers quietly had a solid night.
He tallied eight points and seven assists and, perhaps most importantly, did not record a single turnover. Chalmers even dunked. How often do you see that?
The floor general went 3-of-7 from the floor in 28 minutes.
Shane Battier, Power Forward
Whenever Shane Battier starts at power forward, it's basically a formality, and this time was no different.
Battier played only 14 minutes, posting two points off one field goal. Surprisingly, Battier didn't attempt a single three-pointer.
He ended up with a minus-one plus/minus rating.
Ray Allen, Sixth Man
Ray Allen's shot was off, as he went only 1-of-5 from three-point range and 3-of-7 overall, but he did other things to help Miami get this win.
First of all, he actually led the team in rebounds for the second time in this series, pulling down seven. Secondly, he hit four late free throws to ice the game.
Allen scored 11 points in 29 minutes.
Chris Andersen had an impact in the first half, recording four points and six rebounds, three of them coming on the offensive end. He would add one more point over the final two quarters.
Three other Heat reserves (Norris Cole, Rashard Lewis and James Jones) got minutes, but none of them scored.
That means outside of Allen, Miami's pine posted only five points.
Key Player Grades: Brooklyn Nets
Paul Pierce, Small Forward
Paul Pierce showed flashes of his Celtics days in the fourth quarter, throwing down a tomahawk dunk on Andersen and doing whatever he could to will his team to victory.
It wasn't enough, though, as Pierce just does not have the kind of juice to play that way for a 48-minute game anymore, nor does he still have the legs to stay with LeBron defensively.
The Truth finished with 16 points off 6-of-11 shooting, grabbing seven boards in 32 minutes.
Pierce missed all four of his three-point tries, though.
Kevin Garnett, Center
Obviously, Kevin Garnett is not the dominant force he was in his days with Minnesota and Boston, but he can still have a significant impact on a game.
The veteran tallied eight points and seven rebounds, four of those coming on the offensive end. He also did a solid job of playing help defense on drives into the paint.
Garnett went 3-of-5 from the floor in 25 minutes. He was a plus-two.
Joe Johnson, Small Forward
It was a rough night for Joe Johnson in terms of shooting the basketball.
Johnson went only 5-of-15 from the floor, and despite hitting a couple of big three-pointers in the third quarter, he shot only 2-of-7 from beyond the arc.
He was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, though, and that helped him get to 18 points, but this was not a very effective outing by Johnson.
He wasn't much of a factor on the glass either, tallying only three rebounds in 36 minutes.
Deron Williams, Point Guard
Deron Williams' struggles continue.
While Williams wasn't nearly as bad as he was in Game 2 when he went scoreless, he still wasn't even close to his old self.
Williams shot only 5-of-14, missing several shots around the basket and misfiring on a couple of open threes.
While he was able to get separation from his defenders with crossovers on a couple of occasions, he just does not do it consistently anymore.
D-Will posted 13 points, seven assists and six boards.
A bad effort? No, but not a great one, and certainly not what we've come to expect from Williams over the years.
Shaun Livingston, Shooting Guard
Shaun Livingston made some big plays in the second half, getting to the basket and drawing fouls rather effectively.
However, he missed a couple of good looks in the paint, and that came back to bite the Nets in the end.
Livingston registered 13 points off 4-of-9 shooting, making good on five of his seven free-throw attempts. He also played some fine defense on Wade, utilizing his length to make it difficult for the Heat 2-guard to go to his post game.
Livingston also committed four turnovers, though, equal to his amount of assists.
So, basically, it was a mixed bag.
Andray Blatche, Sixth Man
Andray Blatche put forth another admirable effort.
He didn't shoot the ball particularly well, going 4-of-10, but he scored eight points and was able to haul in eight rebounds (three offensive) in 23 minutes.
What Blatche does doesn't always look pretty, but he usually finds a way to make it work.
Alan Anderson was very effective, scoring 10 points off 3-of-5 shooting. He drained a couple of triples and played physical defense in his 27 minutes.
Andrei Kirilenko also gave the Nets some very good minutes (15, to be exact), scoring six points off 2-of-3 shooting and playing some fine, pesky defense on LeBron.
Unlike in Games 2 and 3, though, Mirza Teletovic's shot was not falling in this one. He went only 2-of-6, misfiring on all three of his long-range attempts.